Friday, April 18, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Is obesity child abuse?

It's no surprise that the case of the 200-pound Cleveland Heights third grader who was placed in foster care after the county claimed his mother wasn't doing enough to keep him healthy has generated debate across the nation.

Is obesity child abuse?

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Anamarie at 3

It's no surprise that the case of the 200-pound Cleveland Heights third grader who was placed in foster care after the county claimed his mother wasn't doing enough to keep him healthy has generated debate across the nation.

I don't know about you, but it seems to me that, when it comes to the welfare of our children, we've got a lot more pressing issues to concern ourselves with (hello, Jerry Sandusky) than whether a mom gives her kid too many Happy Meals.

Not that I'm making light of childhood obesity. Far from it. When roughly 2 million of our children are obese, nobody can argue we're dealing with a national epidemic. It's why First Lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move!" initiative is so needed.

What's hard to argue is when, exactly, does a child require intervention? Does a child weighing 200 pounds means he's living in an abusive household but 190 doesn't? I wouldn't want to tread down that slippery slope. 

Still, as recently as last summer, an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association cited that "parenting deficiencies" may be justifiable for removing an obese child from the home.

And then there's the case of New Mexico toddler Anamarie Martinez-Regino, who was placed in foster care after ballooning to 124 pounds. But her stay was short-lived after doctors discovered she suffered from a rare disease that caused her weight to yo-yo.

Slippery slope indeed. 

To read an update about Anamarie, who is now 7 and pictured on the left, click here.

 

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Blinq is a news commentary blog featuring contributions from Inquirer Metro columnists Karen Heller, Kevin Riordan and Daniel Rubin.

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